“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found
Was blind, but now I see……..”
Webster’s tells us that grace is an act of favor, kindness, or mercy. Grace is given to those that deserve it the least. It is given to those that could never pay the price for it…because it costs too much. More than I could ever afford or even begin to be able to pay back. Grace is a gift.
Years ago, when my story first began……I was spiritually dead. My heart was as dark as the sin that it held. My desire to please myself was great. It was all about me. If I had not met Jesus along the way, the road that I was on, most certainly would have taken me to Hell. Yes, Hell. I thank God for His amazing grace. A grace that I did not deserve. A grace that I did not earn. A gift that He offered me. Thank God, I accepted the gift.
Some people don’t believe in Hell. They think it is just a metaphor for badness, or sadness. A philosophical place, so to speak. Not a real place. Other’s think that Hell is a place that is going to be one raucous party and that all their friends will be there, participating in all the other worldly vices. Sadly, that is what Lucifer would have them believe–that it isn’t all that bad, come join the party. Who needs the Lord? Who needs self sacrifice? Who needs the Bible? That isn’t any fun. It is too constricting. Do what you want, when you want, how you want. After all this life is all about you!! Satan’s lies echo in the ears of those that live for their own self gratification. Empty lies that claim to offer the world…but, instead lead to death.
Hell is real. It is a place. I believe the saddest and most painful part of it, for those who find themselves there, is the isolation. What makes Hell, hell is that God is not there. There is no love, no compassion, no forgiveness, no hope, no joy, no friendship, no fairness, no understanding…..no more grace. These things are not there…because the God who possesses these qualities is not there. That is what Hell will be. I think there will be people in Hell that will have a deep and profound sadness because they will know that their eternity didn’t have to end up this way. It was their choice. They chose this for themselves. When people tried to tell them about God, they scoffed at them…calling them crazy, or weird, or other harsh names. When they were invited to attend church, they laughed that a church is the last place they’d ever go! When God quietly knocked at the door of their heart, they slammed it in His face. Denying their need for Him. Apathy sets in. Hearts harden. Minds are set. And days slip by.
I was a sinner in need of a Savior. I’m grateful I realized this at a fairly young age. It saved me a lot of grief. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not claiming perfection. Lord knows, and so do a lot of other people, that I went through some bad times in my life. Sometimes I’d wonder to myself how I allowed this to happen? What was I thinking? This stuff hurts! What a mess I made. Stupid decisions. The pain at times, was great. In the midst of all this I knew that Christ was still there. He never left me. I was His child. I had accepted His gift of grace and salvation years earlier….and I was His. Much like a parent looks at his/her wayward child and their heart breaks, God looked at me. He didn’t leave me there in the slime and dirt of my own life….bogged down in the morass of my own decisions. He brought me out of that. He set me on a rock. Sturdy. Secure. Strong.
My story is not one of all rainbows and roses. Life is gritty…..and we are all human. We make mistakes. We makes reckless decisions. We have regret. In the midst of all this, Jesus is there. Regardless of what you’ve done, or not done in your own life, He loves you. He wants to give you the gift of His amazing grace. Will you accept it?